The University of Delaware is launching an expansion of its EntreX Lab program, providing entrepreneurship education and a dual-enrollment course to 10 additional Delaware high schools.
Two Newark-area schools, Glasgow High School and Newark Charter School, currently participate in the pilot program. The additional schools will each receive 20 scholarships to cover student costs for one year of the program. Students who complete the semester-long course receive three college credits from UD.
EntreX has students create a product to solve a real world problem.
Glasgow instructor Edwin Smith said students can either work to tackle an issue with a profit or a social issue. Students in the past have made plans for a bluetooth earpiece, providing more services to homeless women, and creating a wholesale system to sell real estate.
The course consists of a series of small projects leading up to a final project for the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship program’s Diamond Challenge, the winner of which earns $100,000 for funding for his or her project idea.
“It allows them to think outside the box and address things that they feel are important, not what we think that they should be thinking about,” said Glasgow Principal Harold “Butch” Ingram. “It gives them freedom of thought. It also allows them to do things that they wouldn’t normally be able to do in the traditional high school setting.”
Currently, Glasgow has 10 students enrolled in the spring semester of EntreX. Though they won’t compete in the Diamond Challenge, Glasgow will have its own competition. Along with the Diamond Challenge, the program offers smaller competitions with minor cash prizes to help keep students motivated.
Smith said the program greatly benefits student’s communication skills by giving them the opportunity to present an idea to appeal to their peers and adult business people, an invaluable skill for job interviews.
NCS began the program three years ago with 23 students.
Christine Orzechowski, a business education teacher at NCS, said teachers receive two weeks of training before the start of the program. The course proved adaptable to online learning enabling it to continue during hybrid instruction.
The expansion of the EntreX program will have some positive effects on the program at NCS.
“The curriculum continues to improve each year and I would expect that with an expansion to more Delaware schools, there will be additional opportunities for students to collaborate,” Orzechowski said. “There also will be additional collaboration among instructors as well. I see this as a huge positive for Delaware schools and for the EntreX program at NCS.”